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\"Dropped\" Header for Steam

John Madden
John Madden Member Posts: 19
If I come off the end of the swing joint from the boiler and drop down to my header, do I need to make a higher riser from the boiler to compensate for the "drop"?

If the boiler manufacturer sizes the riser, swing joint, and header all the same size, would it be wrong to increase the size of the header by a pipe size or two? Would this help to dry out the steam?

If the manufacturers header sizing is 2" and I have two 2" supply mains, would it not be wise to increase the header pipe to at least 2-1/2" and perhaps 3" and drop down into it? That way I should have less velocity in the header, drier steam, and a better flow to both of my supply mains.


  • All correct

    But you don't need to have the HEADER 24" above the water line, you just need the RISERS to be that tall.

    You want your header to be high enough that the water in the equalizer doesn't back up into it, though.

    Check out the equalizer in this picture....
  • When you drop the header back down

    past the minimum 24 inches , when does the drop become too low ? I would assume below the water line is way too far down , but how low can you go ? Would there be a chance of water rising into the equalizer from the return when the boiler is under pressure and the equalizer ell is dropped down too far ?

    Heres a job we did a few months ago . We like to bring the risers pretty high out of the boiler , and keep the whole header above 24 inches when we can . What a timesaver when you have to twin in 2 boiler risers . And yep John , if you can , increase the pipe size . The boiler maunfacturer usually gives you the minimum size . Going larger will definitely benefit the system . This particlar job required only one 2 inch boiler header . We used 2 and icreased it to 2 1/2 inch .
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,733
    John, welcome to the drop-header club

    You will never have a wet-steam problem that way!

    Here's one we did on a Columbia. We had plenty of room to work on this one, but it still saved a lot of time. Note the skim/hose-out tappings we incorporated at the steam outlets. There's a similar one at the return connection, but you can't see it in this view.

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  • Too low

    Would there be a chance of water rising into the equalizer from the return when the boiler is under pressure and the equalizer ell is dropped down too far ?

    YES, that is the danger. Keep the equalizer full size down to the return tapping height.

  • John

    Maintain the mimimum 24" rise from the Water Level and then drop the header about 6". Going to larger diamter pipes is not a bad thing provided you carry that down to the equalizer connection. Here is a drawing of our V8 with 2 boiler risers and a dropped header. In this one we call for 2" boiler risers and a 3" common header. Hope this helps.

    Glenn Stanton

    Burnham Hydronics
This discussion has been closed.